In this recurring theme, we will focus on our retailers. This is where you get to meet our Pure Goods in person and find out more about their story. That’s one of the reasons why we love our shops. They tell our story, provide the consumers with good service and good products. For this week’s blog, we have interviewed Bianca Hausoul from GreyLabel in Heerlen.
Feeling at home in retail
Bianca graduated in graphic design, however, she got tired of sitting behind her desk most of the time. By coincidence, she took a job in retail and it immediately felt like home. She has worked as a store manager and assistant manager at several companies but always had the feeling she could make a difference. ‘I got ill for two years and therefore couldn’t work. I started looking for a store location and working on a business plan to see if what I wanted was possible. Once I realised it was, I first wanted to make sure if I was 100% healthy physically.’
‘I had this feeling that my time had finally come.’
It has always been Bianca’s dream to start her own clothing store. ‘While I was working in retail I was always annoyed by all the rules, so I already had the feeling that I would open my own store one day, but ‘one day’ is quite a vague term’. Bianca’s days at GreyLabel are filled with working in the store, bookkeeping and selecting items and brands. This variation is what Bianca likes most of having her own store. ‘I don’t think I could work somewhere just as a sales assistant, it would just be too monotonous for me.’
GreyLabel: A mix of ‘green’ and ‘grey’ labels
The collection at GreyLabel is quite a unique one in the sense that it consists mainly of basics. ‘I am a basic-girl. In the stores where I used to work, they would always let me sell the grey products’. At GreyLabel you will find a selection of green labels as well. The choice for these labels is something which mainly stems from Bianca’s own interest. ‘I’ve always said: I want to sell green labels. Of course, there are some labels that are less green than others, they do use natural fibres and produce in Europe, but do not qualify for all certifications’. Furthermore, it’s not always easy to buy a brand for your store. ‘Brands tend to be a bit more careful when it comes to a new store’.
‘Because of the media, I started to realise I actually already lived this sustainable lifestyle’.
Sustainability is very important to Bianca, that’s why she is working towards her goal of only offering fair and sustainable labels. But it must be fashionable as well. ‘I want to show that green brands are not dull. There are still a lot of people who think that that’s the case’. The fact that Bianca has to educate her audience about sustainability doesn’t mean that there is no market for it. ‘Luckily there are people who specifically enter GreyLabel because of the green brands, the message is spreading slowly, but surely’. Besides the production processes of the brands at GreyLabel, the style of the products are quite sustainable as well. ‘All items I select are timeless instead of high-fashion and of great quality’. Meaning people can wear it for many years to come, which fits the ‘buy less, buy better’ principle.
Service is everything
Bianca is always looking for ways to be of better service to her customer. She does not believe in forcing people to buy, so you will never feel obliged or uncomfortable at GreyLabel. ‘I do not like it when I’m shopping and people force me to buy something, I’d rather give advice’. One of the things Bianca is thinking about for the future is to set up a webshop. Not necessarily to sell through the webshop, but mainly as a service. ‘Extra profit is always nice, and I know a webshop could be a good way, but it would be first and foremost for people who might not be able to visit the store every week. I want them to be able to check my website to see the collection and then decide to order it or drop by. I believe a webshop should be complementary to the store’.
‘I’m not necessarily a social person when it comes to meeting new people, but in the store I am. Making people happy is one of the nicest things about my job’.
The service she offers is something which comes back to her as well. ‘Everyone who enters the store says, ‘I will definitely visit again”. The main struggle for Bianca at this point is how to get people to enter her store. ‘The store isn’t located in the centre of Heerlen and the companies that are there have been there for thirty years, so people have their routine walk’. According to Bianca, word-of-mouth is the best way for GreyLabel to acquire new visitors, as her visitors often tell her they heard about the store through family or friends. If you’re in the area, make sure to visit GreyLabel and be amazed!